EV drivers to be charged for using Ecotricity charging points
Ecotricity, which operates the majority of the UK's electric vehicle charging points at motorway service stations, will now charge drivers who want to top up their electric vehicles...
Drivers of electric cars will soon have to pay to top up their vehicles at most motorway service stations.
Until now, electric vehicle owners who use Ecotricity's charging stations have been able to charge up their cars for free. However, Ecotricity - which operates the majority of the UK's electric car chargers at motorway service stations - says it will now be charging motorists to use its stations.
Drivers will have to spend £6 for a 30min top-up, and will be able to pay using a new app, called Electric Highway. Ecotricity says it will begin upgrading its network of 296 charging stations across the UK next week to accept payments via the app, and aims to complete the work by early August.
The charge was originally set to be £5 for a 20min charge, but after outcry from drivers, the length of charge on offer was tweaked, along with the price.
It's worth noting that Tesla drivers already have access to a fast and free charging service via Tesla's own network of 'Superchargers'.
Ecotricity first started installing electric vehicle charging points in 2011, and now claims to cover most of the UK's motorway network. At that time, the UK's electric vehicle market was still very small - the sales of 'alternatively fuelled vehicles', which includes electric cars and hybrid vehicles, accounted for just 1.3% of the UK's car market in 2011, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). In 2015, that figure was 2.8%.
Ecotricity says that due to the growing popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles, the usage of its charging points trebled in 2015, and says it is "now neccessary to start charging for the service in order to maintain and grow the network."
As part of its upgrade plans, the company says it wants to double its number of charging stations to nearly 600 over the next two years, including introducing stations into cities.
Drivers who are already signed up to Ecotricity as energy customers can continue using the charging points for free. One of Ecotricity's biggest rivals, Chargemaster, already charges for using its stations via a price plan, which costs from £7.85 per month.
Got a motoring question? Our experts are standing by to help, just tweet us your question using #askwhatcar
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals from What Car?, sign up to our weekly newsletter here